Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Bug-Free Flour

It's probably happened to all of us at one time or another, especially to those of us who live in warmer climates. We bring home a bag of flour or other dry good only to discover later that it's arrived with friends in tow. Lots of little creepy-crawly friends. The only question is did you catch it before they spread to everything else in your pantry.

Obviously if you find bug-infested flour (and you aren't living in Mauritania) the immediate next step is to throw out the flour, but what if the bag had been sitting on the shelf for a while? How can you be sure they haven't gotten into something else?

Every time we bring a new bag of flour home (and we go through a LOT of flour in our house), we either stick it in the microwave for 10-15 seconds on high, or if we have room we just store it in the freezer. Either method kills any bugs that might be in there and ensures that they won't get into anything else before you've found them. You'll still have to throw the bag out, but at least you won't have to dump the whole pantry and call the exterminator.

Visit Rocks In My Dryer for more helpful hints.

16 comments:

grace said...

Great bug-electrocuting technique!

Nancy said...

I did that ONCE, when I first moved out, so that was 34 years ago.

I will never forget the kitchen mess I had. From that day forward everything I bring home in a box, cereal, sugar, flour, etc. goes right into Tupperware.

I think my bugs were weavels? (sp)Those little bugs with pincher's.

Mom not Mum said...

Ick! I knew the freezer trick but had never heard about the microwave - cool!

InsertWittyBlogHere said...

I stick mine in the freezer just to be sure, but I've also heard that putting a stick of gum in the cabinet keeps away the flour bugs. I forget which kind - Wrigley's, maybe? The kind in the yellow wrapper, I think. But that might be hard for you to get where you're at right now.

Ann'Re said...

I've never heard of using the microwave, but I put everything (flour, wheat berries, rice etc.) in the freezer for a few days before it gets stored in cupboards. I also put bay leaves in with my flour once it's stored which also helps keep the critters out. Ann'Re

SAHMmy Says said...

My mom's pantry got infested with some kind of pest; since then I've put all flour, pancake mix, etc. in the freezer overnight before I put it away. Had this thought recently, though: if there were bugs inside, they're still inside, just dead! Ew.

Ewokgirl said...

As soon as flour comes home from the store, I put it in a plastic bag (I buy bread bags) and seal it. If any little critters are in the flour, they can't get out to infest anything else.

proverbs31 said...

I always keep my flour and cornmeal, baking mixes, etc, in the freezer so they don't get bugs. We also have an ant problem so I also keep the sugar in there to keep the ants out of it. An extra bonus for keeping the sugar in there is that it never gets moisture in it on humid days so I never open the bag to find my sugar has stuck together in one big clump.

I never thought about microwaving anything tho. That's pretty neat. :)

Carol Anne said...

Thanks so much for this tip! I once through out an unopened bag of rice that had some kind of grain moth in it. DH couldn't bare the thought of wasting food (or didn't hear me say it was infested?) got it out of the trash, opened it and used it. We have been infested ever since. YUCK!

Lara Angelina said...

I had that happen once and have been careful to put everything in ziplock bags or tupperware! I never want that to happen again -- what a mess!!
I've heard of putting it in the freezer too -- but not the microwave! I'll have to remember that one!

phyllis said...

what a cool tip yet ew....i'm with sahmy -- the bugs are still there, yet dead? yeesh i think i just can't think about it...

Mrs. Brownstone said...

Great tip! I've never heard of either method...will begin doing one or the other or both next time I buy flour.

Thanks for sharing!

Laane said...

Never heard from this methods.
Sounds great!

I put them in tupperware straight after arrival and never had problems. (Knock on wood.)

Have a great weekend!

beautyredefined said...

Cool. Never had problems with that myself, but good techniques to know nonetheless. :)

Not so easy said...

I just microwaved a (newly discovered) bag of flour infested with moths and larvae to see what would happen, and while the moths died, the larvae were not affected. Two minutes on high, still wriggling around. I won't be relying on that method.

Anonymous said...

I found bugs in my Pancake Mix, which lead me to check everything in the pantry and yes... everything was infested that was still left in it's orginal package, brown rice, snack crackers, flour everything. I threw everything out! My concerned after doing this was reinfestation...are these bugs already in the package? That's pretty gross. So from now on I will try freezing or Microwaving these things. Thanks for the tips.